By: Tony Ortiz
Yes, this isn’t the usual football column from me………..
With the release of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ coming next week, it’s time to unveil my list of the 5 BEST superhero movies of all time – a list that changed quite a bit in the last couple of months.
5. X2: X-Men United – the second X-Men movie was the best of the bunch, thanks to a solid screenplay and a rock-solid performance by Bryan Cox as the movie’s big villain. This movie also featured one of the best opening sequences in a movie of this type (Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House).
4. Iron Man – it takes all of five minutes for Robert Downey, Jr. to own the role of billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who would – of course – become the title hero. His change from weapon dealer to someone who wants to help the world works in the context of the story, which features a more mature attitude than you would believe could exist in a movie of this type.
3. The Dark Knight – speaking of mature, this is – easily – the darkest superhero movie ever made, thanks to a head-turning performance from the late Heath Ledger, who owns this movie as the Joker. There’s no happy ending in this one, which is OK, since a Gotham City this bleak doesn’t really deserve one.
2. Superman (1978) – the original and still the best. Seeing the late Christopher Reeve take flight for the first time reminds me when I saw this movie at age 13, and being just absolutely blown away by seeing a man fly. It’s also a movie that takes it time to establish where it’s going with the characters, but it’s a ride that you want to take.
1. The Avengers – this movie could’ve gone wrong in so many different ways, but director Joss Whedon gets it right, with the perfect balance of action, characterization and humor. Mark Ruffalo steals the movie with his performance as Bruce Banner / Hulk – not easy, when you have to share screen time with actors like Downey, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.
With the good also comes the bad, so here’s a quick list of the 5 WORST superhero movies of all time:
Fantastic Four – how do you make this movie WITHOUT showing the launch into space that created the Fantastic Four? Inexcusable, and it’s all downhill from there.
Green Lantern – started off OK, but got worse as it went along. Lame villains, and an even worse training sequence a third of the way through hat derails this movie.
Superman 4: The Quest for Peace – more like the quest to the box office to get my money back.
X-Men 3: The Last Stand – this movie was so bad, they had to reboot a franchise less than a decade after it started.
Batman and Robin – the movie that ALMOST ended the career of George Clooney and DID end the movie careers of Chris O’Donnell, Alicia Silverstone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you’ve seen this flick (and I have), it’s two hours of your life that you are NEVER getting back. Remember that on Judgement Day.
So, where will the new ‘Spider-Man’ movie ultimately rate? Probably with the better movies on this list and not the worst. I’m hopeful for this film because of a very good cast (Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dennis Leary, Rhys Ifani) and the director Marc Webb, who made the underrated ‘(500) Days of Summer’ a few years ago. The only negative point I have from the previews: I really don’t want to see another recap of Spider-Man’s origin, which has been done way too much. Remember, going over familiar territory was what grounded ‘Superman Returns’ before that movie even got going.
‘Superman Returns’, by the way, is on the list of the superhero / sci-fi movies that are overrated and underrated………..but those lists will have to wait until a future column.